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For Lisa Velthouse’s whole life, Christianity had been about getting things right. Obeying her parents. Not drinking. Not cursing. Not having premarital sex. Vowing to save her first kiss until she got engaged, even writing a book called . . . well, Saving My First Kiss. (This, it turns out, does not actually help a girl get a date.) Yet after two decades of trying to earn God’s okay, she found her faith was lonely, empty, and unsatisfying. So she turned to more discipline, of course: fasting! By giving up her favorite foods—sweets—Lisa hoped to somehow discover true sweetness and meaning in her relationship with God. Until, one night at a wedding, she denied herself the cake but failed in such a different, unexpected, and world-rocking way that it challenged everything she thought she knew about God and herself. Craving Grace is the true story of a faith dramatically changed: how in one woman’s life God used a bitter heart, a broken promise, and the sweetness of honey to reveal the stunning wonder that is grace.

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As a saved Christian with very strong-convictions who lives our her faith the best she knows how, I am always "craving" to know God better & to live more freely in His grace. I have to admit, at first I was turned off my Miss Velthouse's sarcasm and blunt honesty (she is very honest about just how ungracious she was and it is sometimes hard to read without getting defensiveness but you must remember she was this "ungracious" person in the past.) The book does go back and forth from "3 years ago" to "the present winter" (or "spring" or "summer" or "fall") but the book very clearly lets you know in bold print at the beginning of each chapter which time era the author is referring to. Though one reviewer I read didn't like that, it is not confusing in the least. It actually ends up making the contrast between Lisa living-without-grace and Lisa living-in-grace that much stronger. Many, many times throughout the book, God spoke to my heart. I did have to read it twice to get over the defensive attitude I had while reading many of Miss Velthouse's previous feelings of judgment and I'm-better-than-you attitudes she had towards certain Christians who lived their Christianity in ways she didn't agree with. I finally realized that she was using these memoirs of her old self to show us just how much God has changed her heart about His grace for her, and about her grace for others. Please try this book! I truly believe that if you open your heart, God can shower His grace upon you in a way you haven't allowed Him to before. And be assured, Miss Velthouse is not advocating living free in grace as a means to "do whatever you want" but that she is advocating living free in grace to be all that God created you to be and to give you infinitely more "sweetness" in your relationship with Him that you've ever dreamed of.

I met Lisa when she spoke at an all-girls event I organized at my church (by the way, she's a fantastic speaker and I booked her again for next year). To my delight, I received a copy of Craving Grace in the mail a few months later. I read it in two days. Why couldn't I put it down? I think Lisa's voice in Craving Grace reflects the hearts of many women who have grown up as "good girls" in the church. We secretly make lists of "do"s and "don't"s even though we could tell you to your face "For by grace are you saved through faith, not of yourselves, it is the gift of God." Lisa is brutally honest and transparent about her experiences and it challenged me to do the same as I reflected on my own relationship with God and others. I've recommended this book to my peers, college students, and mature high school girls. My own copy is floating around out there somewhere...the people I lend it to keep passing it on!